House approves legislation protecting children involved in abuse investigations

first_img Categories: Hornberger News,Runestad News 21Feb House approves legislation protecting children involved in abuse investigations Bipartisan bill package requires the recording of forensic interviewsLegislation aimed at bringing additional clarity to legal matters involving allegations of child abuse and neglect was approved today in the Michigan House with overwhelming support.State Reps. Jim Runestad, Robert Kosowski and Pamela Hornberger sponsored the bipartisan three-bill package requiring all forensic interviews conducted at child advocacy centers with children involved in abuse and neglect investigations to be recorded on video.“The young kids involved in these cases are traumatized, making them particularly susceptible to influence during interviews,” said Runestad, R-White Lake, chair of the House Judiciary Committee. “Videotaping protects the witness and the due process rights of the accused by ensuring an accurate record of the questions and their responses.”The bills also allow recorded interviews to be used in certain court hearings, provide protocols for accessing and storing the recordings and increase penalties for intentionally disseminating the recordings to unauthorized individuals.“House Bills 4298-4300 are common-sense legislation that protect some of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents – children who have been involved in abuse and neglect situations – while codifying a best practice,” said Kosowski, D-Westland.The Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect recommended videotaping forensic interviews as a best practice after a pilot program found that recordings resulted in more pleas entered to the original charge rather than going to trial.“Recording all forensic interviews with children really is the best practice,” said Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township. “It guarantees an accurate record of a child’s account of events and decreases the likelihood that vulnerable kids will have to repeat the painful details of their trauma over and over again.”House Bills 4298-4300 now move to the Senate for consideration.###last_img

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